Kindle Fire HD: Tips and Tricks
Kindle Fire HD: Tips and Tricks
The Kindle Fire HD, one of the most popular small tablets on today’s market, is Amazon’s answer to both the iPad and Google’s Nexus 7. The Kindle Fire HD comes in both a 7” and an 8.9” model, making it a convenient choice for both those who want a smaller tablet, and those who prefer something a little bit larger. Below you will find some tips and tricks for using the Kindle Fire HD.
Getting rid of the ads
Most Amazon Kindle devices come in two versions: An ad-supported version and one without advertisements. The ad-supported Kindles can be purchased for less, making up the difference in revenue by streaming ads onto the device. While the ads are not annoying for most people (they only show up on the screensaver and at the bottom of the book list – never when you’re actually reading a book), some people find that they just simply can’t live with them. If you’re one of those people who skimped on the price tag and purchased an ad-supported Kindle Fire HD, you’ll be happy to know that the ads can be removed. To do so, simply log into your Amazon account and look for the “Special Offers” section of the “Manage My Kindle” page. Select your Kindle Fire HD and click the unsubscribe button. Amazon charges $15 to remove the ad service from your device, but if the ads bother you, this is a small price to pay. You can also turn off the recommendation on the device itself by going to “Settings > Applications > Amazon Home Recommendations” and selecting the “Hide” option.
Install apps without Amazon’s Appstore
Although the Kindle Fire HD is an Android device, Amazon does not actually give the user access to Google Play, the official Android store. Instead, Amazon has pre-installed a slimmed-down version of the appstore. Granted, there are many wonderful apps available in Amazon’s app store, but unfortunately it does not include many of Google’s Android apps. By default, the Kindle Fire HD is locked down, meaning that any app you install has to be come through the app store. However, this can easily be circumvented by enabling one simple setting.
Slide down the notification bar at the top of the Kindle Fire HD and tap “More” then select the “Settings” option. Find the entry for “Device” and look for the option to “Allow installation of applications from unknown sources.” Turn this option on and tap OK. Now you will be able to either sideload (hooking the Kindle Fire HD to the computer via USB cable) or download apps (APK files) from the Internet. One word of caution, however: Android devices are not immune to foul play, so be careful where you get your applications.
Screen Rotation Lock
The Amazon Kindle Fire HD has a screen rotation features that automatically flips the screen when the device is rotated. This is often useful when switching between reading a book (usually done in portrait mode) and playing a game (best viewed in landscape mode). Sometimes, however, you may find it useful to lock the screen so that it doesn’t rotate. All you have to do is slide the notification bar down and tap either locked or unlocked at the top of the Quick Settings.
Many parents let their children play with their Kindle Fire HD devices. Some, like myself, even purchase the child their very own. There is a lot to be said for a child being able to explore the digital world on their own, and have constant access to tons of learning apps, books and videos. However, small children simply don’t understand that many apps cost. Luckily Amazon has introduced a parental control option which, once set, can block access to specific content and apps, and even restrict purchases.
For an even better option for children, however, check out Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited. This service costs $4.99 per month and is well worth it. Once installed, the parent sets up a profile for their child, letting the service know what age group the child belongs to. A password is also set up. Once the app is open, the child has free reign of the device. Amazon blocks all purchases from within FreeTime Unlimited, including any type of in-app purchase. Simply put, the child cannot purchase anything whatsoever. And the child is unable to exit out of the app without the parent’s password. FreeTime Unlimited offers the child access to thousands of age-appropriate books, videos, games and apps, all included in the monthly subscription cost. Not sure if your child would like FreeTime Unlimited? Amazon offers a 30-day free trial so you can check it out before you subscribe.
Watch content on your TV
One of the big advantages of the Kindle Fire HD is the ability to plug it into any HDTV (this requires a Micro HDMI to HDMI cable, which is sold separately). This enables you to stream movies and videos over the Internet to your television. Some services, however, like Hulu Plus and HBO Go, restrict the device, rendering it unable to output content via an HDMI cable.
The Kindle Fire HD’s browser, Silk, does not support flash. Unfortunately, this means that video services which require a flash player (Youtube, Vimeo) will not work. There are, of course, alternative browsers that do support the flash player. You will have to jump through hoops to make this work. The first step is to enable installation from unknown sources (see above). Once this is done you will be able to search for and download Android browsers from the Internet. The Dolphin browser, which includes support for flash player, is considered one of the best.
Running out of storage space?
The Kindle Fire HD comes in 16gb and 32gb options. This is usually enough space for most normal users. However, some heavy users have found that this just simply wasn’t enough space for all the apps, documents, photos and videos they want to keep. Amazon has somewhat solved this problem with the Amazon Cloud Drive, which offers 5gb of space free, but is cumbersome to use. Other cloud services, like Dropbox or Microsoft’s Skydrive, are much easier to use and will keep your data synced. Devices like the Kingston Wi-Drive, a wireless external hard drive, also come in handy.
Have more tips and ideas for new ways to use the Kindle Fire HD? We’d love to hear them. Leave us a comment below and let us know.
About The Author
I had a hard time with my previous tablet and the issue is connected with storage. Just recently, I got mine from Amazon bestseller mention at http://www.cheapbutquality.com/tablets/kindle-fire-hd-7-dolby-audio-dualband-wifi-16-gb-includes-special-offers-com and man, the 16gb storage was by far huge enough for my favorite apps...
I think that Kindle Fire HD has the exact size of a very handy tablet. Not too big but not too small. I used Kindle Fire in reading eBooks. I also like the "parental control option" where you can block some sites that are inappropriate to view by the children. Thanks Dennis for this good review. Hope to see more gadget reviews here.