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April 04, 2012

Kindle Fire on Ice Cream Sandwich Review

Getting bored in the wee hours of the morning usually results to doing something crazy that you’ll eventually regret the next day. The last time I experienced this resulted to having my wife’s rooted Kindle Fire virtually bricked. Luckily a friend saved the day and flashed the Kindle Fire back to life.

After the incident I didn’t touch the damn thing for a week. But boredom got the better of me and saw my hand reaching for the Fire. Thanks to XDA Forums, the Kindle Fire is now running Android Ice Cream Sandwich.

UI

The ROM used is a custom ICS based on CyanogenMod 9 (CM9). Flashing this ROM means saying goodbye to the original Kindle Fire look but giving you more options for customization.

With the help of Apex launcher, the home screen feels more welcome, allowing me to add widgets and shortcuts as I please. Despite the absence of hardware UI Acceleration, the Fire is responsive and the animated transitions are smooth with no lags.

Apps

Google Play Store is included in the ROM, giving you full access to the whole Android Marketplace. With the original Kindle Fire ROM, you can only download content from Amazon’s own store. But since I don’t have an Amazon account nor do I have any reason to create one, letting go of the Amazon store was easy.

Then I remembered my downloaded eBooks. I honesty fell in love with the stock Kindle Fire eBook reader and I don’t want to settle with anything in the Play Store. Good thing an Amazon Kindle app is available so, that fixed my eBook problem.

Games run well on the Kindle Fire. Although some games like the Samurai vs Zombies Defense freezes the Fire and requires a reboot. But I can live with it since Angry Birds Space and Temple Run runs perfectly.

Multimedia

With its 7-inch IPS TFT display, playing movies on it is a lot better than on a 4-inch smartphone. I have to install a media player on it though as the default player can’t play my AVI files. Movie playback is smooth with no problems, although you’ll experience slight stutters (choppiness) when you’re running a lot of apps in the background.

A YouTube app is also included and looks fantastic. Watching videos on it is as easy as pie. But you have to forget about watching HD videos for now as the custom ICS ROM can’t fully utilize the Fire’s GPU yet.

Playing music on this ROM is a bit disappointing. Although the music app can play music files, it still needs some tweaks to make if fully optimized for the Kindle Fire. It lacks visual appeal and the absence of swipe gestures in the music app makes it difficult to adjust volumes since the Fire doesn’t have physical volume keys.

Battery

The batter can last a day and a half if I’m just using the Fire for reading books and internet browsing. But set the screen to maximum brightness, Wifi on the whole time, some gaming, movies and book reading, you’ll run empty in just 8 hours. But this rarely happens as I usually use the Fire for browsing and reading.

One bug I noticed though is that the Kindle Fire runs empty quickly when I turn it completely off. So I just settled to putting it to sleep when I retire for the night.

Conclusion

It’s hard to judge the Kindle Fire under this custom ICS ROM early at this point because it is still under development. Everything works well except for hardware UI acceleration and HD playback. There are still bugs to remove but these are tolerable and didn’t hinder much of my enjoyment. Would I want to revert back to the original Kindle Fire ROM? If it’s Gingerbread, forget it. I can do much more with Ice Cream Sandwich and my wife finds it prettier. But once Amazon releases an ICS based ROM for the Kindle Fire then I might.

Amazon Kindle Fire Specs:
7-inch IPS TFT display @ 1024×600 pixels, 16M colors, 170ppi
1.0GHz Cortex-A9 dual-core (TI OMAP 4430)
8GB internal storage
512MB RAM
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Android OS, v2.3 (Amazon Custom)
Li-Ion 4400mAh battery
190 x 120 x 11.4 mm
413g

Amazon Price: $199

To learn more on how to root and install a custom ROM on your Kindle Fire, you can check this one out for ICS. Of course, proceed at your own risk.

Editor’s Note: The Kindle Fire is currently only available via the Amazon Store for $199 (see listing here) although you will find some local stores to carry them at a much higher price.

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28 Responses to “Kindle Fire on Ice Cream Sandwich Review”

  1. el toro bumingo
    Twitter: eltorobumingo
    says:

    Ang kulit naman ng pangalan ng OS n’ya! Ice Cream Sandwich talaga? :)

  2. Mark says:

    My Kindle Fire currently runs Cyanogenmod 7. Medyo buggy pa kasi yung mga ibang ICS ROMs. Wait na lang muna for a stable ICS ROM before flashing.

  3. deuts
    Twitter: deuts
    says:

    First time you heard about it? Where are you from anyway? hehehe :P

  4. booby says:

    Makulit talaga, not only this version of the OS but the entire Android line of OS generations. In alphabetical order, it started with Cupcake, then Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, then this Ice Cream Sandwich. Don’t be surprised if the next version of Android OS is named Jelly or Jam.

  5. Gelo
    Twitter: supergelotorres
    says:

    Well, as to what I have read on the internet… the next version would be called Jelly Bean.

  6. showbiz says:

    Can’t believe there is still unfamiliar with android OS.

  7. Ryuji says:

    Amazon should stick to creating E-ink based Kindle. Kindle Fire is just the same as any tablet out there. Kindle brand should only be used for their e-readers.

  8. alyaseen says:

    Would the Fire be a better candidate for custom Androids than the HP Touchpad? Thanks!

  9. NineSwordz says:

    Wow finally, it can now run on CM9.. but I think it is not stable though. But I’m still looking forward on some reviews like the Ainol Novo 7 Aurora and Ainol Novo 7 Mars (Aurora II) which are very popular on the online market today.

  10. mel
    Twitter: k0olmel
    says:

    abe, what’s that android app you suggested for reading your blog again? lol too lazy to search

  11. Carl Bytes says:

    @booby, baka pwede Android 6.0 aka Pandesal :)

  12. Louie
    Twitter: John_Louie
    says:

    @alyaseen In my opinion, the Fire is a better candidate. The Kindle Fire’s Android development is faster than the HP Touchpad‘s (as far as ICS is concerned). As of February of this year, CM9 for the Touchpad is still in Alpha 2, according to RootzWiki. But I can say it’s promising since they mentioned that the Touchpad can tri-boot WebOS, CM7 & CM9.

  13. Lloyd says:

    what about iCHM file? is it available on Kindle because I find hotmail files very convenient for us especially those medical books, tnx for any reply

  14. Louie
    Twitter: John_Louie
    says:

    @Lloyd I did find an Android app for CHM files at the Play Store. It’s called HYReader. It’s a paid app. There are free versions as well like the Android Chm EBook Reader.

  15. AJ
    Twitter: kopimango
    says:

    Nice review Louie…3.0 Kernel is on its way. definitely will make a huge difference in kindle FIRE on ICE cream sandwich.

    • Louie
      Twitter: John_Louie
      says:

      Thanks sir! I’m hoping they finish it soon so we can see the full potential of the Fire on ICS. Again, thank you for fixing the Kindle for me. :D

  16. PHsmash says:

    Maybe he was a guy who did not spent too much time with today’s modern technology, xD

    Android OS name’s are weird to meet technology but good to hear it names LOL

  17. ICE says:

    @alyaseen , for me its the price and features, HP touchpad is bigger and heavier but @99USD 16gb , with Front camera,bluetooth,maps(NO GPS But its working) and with superb audio,better screen quality, WEBos is good but not enough development sadly, and the 50gb Box account free is a bonus in touchpad, mine Running on Dual Boot WebOS and Cm9 ICS, Kindle fire is $199, 8gb, no bluetooth, lousy audio and useless amazon interface unless your US/UK/JAP base and have an account @ amazon or you prefer amazon ebook reading, MIUi ICS, i did have a harder time installing ics on kindle fire than touchpad though!, for me its the touchpad though bluetooth, screen and half the price, though kindle fire form factor is better for portability but touchpad is better for reading and movies

  18. Gabrilee Insiano says:

    Hi Master,

    Good day, I am planning to buy my first ebook reader and i am considering kindle fire but for some reasons, i am afraid of the major concerns about buying books online.

    Would you mind helping me the best ebook reader that is not dependable only on online stores? I mean any ebook reader that i can only drag and drop my downloaded ebooks.

    Please send me a list of the best possible ebook reader that is not dependable only on online stores but also thru drag and drop files. Thanks

    Ian

    • Louie
      Twitter: John_Louie
      says:

      Hello sir Ian,

      I don’t think I can provide much input on which ebook reader is the best to buy since the Kindle Fire is the first ebook reader I’ve handled.
      So far, I’ve no problems with it and can handle my downloaded books. It’s also a simple drag and drop and I’m good to go.

      For alternatives to the Kindle Fire I hope this link will get you started.

      http://ebook-reader-review.toptenreviews.com/index.html

      Thanks for the comment and good luck on your ebook reader hunting.

  19. Lloyd says:

    by the way can we transfer all our CHM files from the desktop to the Kindle? Is it like just doing the usual Copy Paste stuff? tnx again

  20. Thank you sir Louie, you’re a great help.

  21. jun says:

    wait for kernel 3 from hash code for fire ics then it would be perfect, or go and get transformer prime tf201…all running kindle cm9 version as of now are quite dissapointing at this very momment..just my 2 cents.

  22. jun says:

    if you happen to live outside U.S. root the God damn thing! and port google (market) play to gain functionality.

  23. angelito says:

    for me ainol novo aurora d’best ^_^

  24. HippySheep says:

    can’t believe the grammar!

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