My Kindle Fire arrived last Saturday, and given an extended Thanksgiving vacation, my life has revolved around two items: configuring my Fire and the search for skiable early season snow (x-ski)!
While not an iPad, the Kindle Fire is worth every penny of its $199 price. Amazon's App store is rapidly expanding, and the seven inch screen is proving quite capable. However, the smaller screen compared to the iPad makes the value of apps much higher when it comes to optimizing the viewable area.
I do have one BIG nit with Amazon. I HATE the carousel. This user interface feature takes up almost 1/2 of your startup screen, and delivers little value. The carousel displays every app, book, video, or song (MP3) which you've ever read or purchased via Amazon. In my case ... a whole lot of books via my public library. Thus, the carousel had to go! (continued below)
For the first few days of the Fire's existence, you could download without charge Go Launcher EX from the Amazon Apps Store. Apparently, Amazon did not like people removing their carousel and wallpapers; thus, they removed Go Launcher from the Amazon Kindle Fire Apps Store. No Problem! There is an easy work around. Just download the app directly from the vendor's web site (no charge). You first may want to read this excellent review from Lilliputin complete with video about Go Launcher. However, in short, this app allows you to personalize your start-up screen as "you" desire. (see image shown below, installation instructions start below the screenshot)
Note: See the bottom of this article for an update (link) which explains how to install non Amazon Android apps w/o rooting via GetJar.
- Configure your Fire to allow non Amazon Apps
- Settings => Device => Allow Installation of Applications => On
- Install a File Manager from the Amazon Apps Store
- My choice: AndroXplorer (free for basic version)
- Download Go Launcher Ex from GoForAndroid via your Fire
- Download Page (use this page)
- Using your File Manager (commands for AndroXplorer)
- Open AndroXplorer => sdcard => download folder => Go_Launcher.apk
- Note: Your Go Launcher will include the version number
- You're Done!
At this point you can set up your Kindle Fire home screen to display your desired content. When you first turn on your Kindle Fire, you will be presented with this option: (see below)
Select Go Launcher EX, and make it your default action (easy to undo). This makes the dreaded carousel disappear except upon your command!
Should you wish to return to the native Kindle Fire user interface and start-up screen, you have a number of options:
1. Uninstall Go Launcher (remember, you did not root the device!)
2. Navigate to "all apps" and start "Launcher". This starts the native Kindle user interface.
3. Remove the "default startup" setting for Go Launcher:
Settings => Applications => Go Launcher => Launch by Default => Clear Defaults
Now that you are comfortable that one may easily return to the native Kindle Fire user interface, you will want to configure Go Launcher to fit your desires. Take a look at the screenshot given below (click to maximize). There are three basic options you'll want to explore.
Go Launcher Ex Configuration Settings:
- Add: select the apps you want displayed on your home screen
- Wallpaper: Get rid of Amazon's start-up splash screens
- Unfortunately needs to be reset each user session
- Preferences: Personal choice, but my favorites are ...
- Screen Settings => Grid Size => Tightest (5x5)
- Screen Settings => Dock row => 3
Once you add some apps to the desktop, just press down on any app for a few seconds. All the apps now become movable (or remove from screen).
Finally, here are are my "initial apps". Let me know what the apps you have found useful via the comments section of this blog post. You'll note that my focus is not games!
- Amazon Kindle (default Kindle app)
- Appstore (default Kindle app)
- eMail (default Kindle app)
- Documents to Go
- Facebook (default Kindle app)
- Gallery (default Kindle app)
- Launcher (default Kindle app)
- Office Calculator
- Pulse (default Kindle app)
- Quick Office (default Kindle app)
- Weather Channel
Have fun exploring your new Kindle Fire!
Still with me? (additional Kindle Fire content)
Since this orginal Kindle Fire post, I have added these posts:
- Using Your Kindle Fire Browser (Jan. 26, 2012)
- Kindle Fire and GoLauncher: Where are my books? (Jan. 19, 2012)
- SharePoint Apps: iPad - Yes ... Kindle Fire - No (Jan. 19, 2012)
- Kindle Fire vs. iPad Web Browsing (Jan. 4, 2012)
- Adding a Microphone to your Kindle Fire (Nov. 29, 2011)
- Android | iPad | Kindle Fire (all posts)
Just in case you want to branch out ... NorthstarNerd.Org explores more than just the serious side of technology. Visit my SkiCam Man posts! (learn a little about Nordic Skiing and Northern Minnesota)