Kindle Fire source code already available

Summary:The homebrew community is free to start hacking the Kindle Fire, as Amazon has released the source code for the new tablet.

The homebrew community is anxious to get hacking the two new cheap tablets, the Nook Tablet and the Kindle Fire. There is a big draw to getting good hardware at a cheap price, and then changing the software to add features missing on the tablet as released by the OEM. Amazon is making this homebrew effort as easy as possible, as it has already released the Kindle Fire source code.

Download Kindle Fire source code here

The Kindle Fire is based on open source Android code, and it is required for companies that use it to release their code based on the original source code. Companies usually take plenty of time to release that source code; Google only recently released the Android Honeycomb source.

Amazon is not fooling around with the Kindle Fire, it released it early, shipped it ahead of time, and is now getting the source code to the homebrew crowd. While I originally thought Amazon might take a dim view of those hacking its new tablet, I am happy to see that is not the case.

Now that the source code is freely available, we will start seeing custom software builds appearing for those who want to tailor the capabilities of the $199 tablet. To install custom ROMs (software builds) on the Kindle Fire, it will be necessary to first "root" the device, giving full privileges over the hardware. That has already been done by at least one intrepid Fire owner, so the way is clear for serious homebrew efforts.

Amazon can still decide to take steps to hamper putting custom ROMs on the Kindle Fire. It can do that in a number of ways, but it may just look the other way while it happens. The homebrew community represents a tiny fraction of the mainstream market that Amazon is aiming the Kindle Fire at, and it may just live with it. Let's hope that is the attitude it takes.

See also:

Topics: Tablets, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Security


James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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